All companies want to avoid workplace accidents but despite the best safety measures, they can still happen. Even if you can’t prevent all accidents, you can and should handle them properly. Otherwise, it will cost you dearly.
A Hartford Financial Services Group study found that the average cost of a workers’ compensation claim increases significantly the longer a company delays reporting a claim.
Waiting until the second week to file after an incident increases the average settlement by 18 percent. By the third or fourth week, costs increase by 30 percent. After a month, they balloon to 45 percent more.
Here’s what the experts recommend you do after an accident to better care for your employees and your insurance premiums.
Call 9-1-1 if the employee’s severely injured. Otherwise, transport the injured employee to a medical care facility designated by your workers’ compensation carrier or the closest walk-in clinic.
Don’t delay, as injuries such as sprains, strains, neck and back injuries need prompt care to avoid unnecessary lost time and high claims costs.
Ensure the employee travels with the appropriate paperwork so the doctor can authorize return to work and note temporary restrictions, when needed.
Limit access to the scene of the accident to protect others. Do not tamper with equipment or materials unless they pose an imminent danger. The appropriate authorities need to see everything as it was to investigate the situation thoroughly.
Complete the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300). Regulations require this within seven days for death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.
However, when you report promptly the details are more likely to stay fresh. It also speeds an employee’s return to work and minimizes claim costs. If an accident leads to death, work-related hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye, you must also notify OSHA.
File a workers’ compensation insurance claim with your carrier within 24 hours of the incident.
Follow Up With Employee
Discuss what occurred after the doctor’s visit and formulate an appropriate return to work plan. A fast and transparent claims process and managing injuries well shows the employee you value their work and you care about their well-being.
Relate on a personal level. Your employees are human beings and they deserve compassion and empathy.
Establish Transitional or Modified Jobs
Many injuries can take weeks or months to heal. For instance, sprains and strains may lead to lengthy long-term disability claims unless you make changes in the workplace so the employee can work again.
Employees medically cleared to work, but unable to perform their previous duties, can work in another role or department to preserve the employee’s confidence and utilize their skills. A good return-to-work program benefits your employees and your business.
Review Safety Protocols
When an accident occurs, everyone should understand why and how the incident occurred. Discuss the incident with employees and clarify safety protocols to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Update your safety manual and provide employee training. These measures are well-worth the investment since they prevent workplace accidents and injuries and shorten response time if an incident does occur.